May 13, 2009

Tue: I Would Change My Grade in this Stupid Class So I Can Graduate

Religion Class. This was supposed to be a breeze. I knew about religions, and I definitely knew about American religions, which was the main focus of this class. I figured it would be pretty interesting, maybe we’d learn about the early day’s of this country, and how Christianity was the backbone. Maybe later we'd touch on the revivals and some of the interesting things going on there. Also, we could talk about the lore involved in some of the Native America religions and that epic tale of Mormonism. So the class sounded like a good idea.

Sometimes things that seem like good ideas have the potential to be the worst ideas ever (Don’t think about that too hard, it sounds a lot more insightful than it actually is). I should have seen the red flags early on; the fact that we had to buy a syllabus, the test dates that kept getting moved around, the professor who seemed to be a luddite and refused to move into a world of Powerpoint, Blackboard and E-mail and sticking to hand-drawn overheads and a massive “reader” containing articles we needed to study. It turned bleak pretty fast. In spite of the many bad things there was a fantastic simplicity to the class. 3 tests, each 20% of the total grade and a Paper for the remaining 40%. Piece of cake. It started really well, I mean I didn’t really learn anything, but I scored well enough on the first two tests (44, and 43 out of 50). Nothing spectacular but enough to let the class fade to obscurity between test weeks. I felt like the Final went really well also, He changed the format to 40 questions which I was all for, the less questions the better. I turned in my Final paper, an exposition about Catholics in America at the turn of the century, really riveting stuff, but I felt good about that too.

The professor apparently didn’t feel so good about it though. He gave my paper that was worth 40% of my grade a 34……..out of 100. I wasn’t even aware you could score that low on a paper, I kind of figured if I printed out 8 pages with one word on each sheet spelling out “Catholics struggled in early America because of democracy” then I would at least get a 50. Not seriously, but who gets anything less than a 50 on a paper anyway? if you turn in something awful they usually at least give you a 60 for the effort. And like I said, I didn’t think this paper was anywhere near awful.

So if you’re doing the math at home you’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what the Final test score was, it’s now impossible to pass this class. I realized this earlier today at work after crunching numbers 9 ways to Tuesday trying to figure out if I had a shot at all. “Well whatever” I told myself, “I guess I’ll just take a summer class” and started looking into that. But it’s still really disappointing. Really, a 34?!

There is one small possibility however. After staring at my grades screen for close to an hour at work in disbelief at my abysmal score I started to create a crazy theory. What if I didn’t score a 34 on my paper? What if for some reason, the professor (an ace with computers) maybe put my Final exam score in the spot for my Paper score and the paper hasn’t been graded yet. That’s what I’m going to tell myself until they turn me away at the Arena door on Thursday and the reality finally settles in.

I realize I usually use the Tuesday entry to give out great ideas about improving our world, and I can’t help but feel like this world would be vastly improved if I don’t have to go to summer school. I have other things to be doing, important things. Let’s change this.